Cunnilingus

Cunnilingus

[kuhn-l-ing-guhs]

Cunnilingus is the act of using the mouth, lips, and tongue to stimulate the female genitals. The clitoris is particularly noted as the most sexually sensitive part of the female genitalia. Shere Hite notes that most women achieve orgasm easily from clitoral stimulation as part of cunnilingus. The term comes from an alternative Latin word for the vulva (cunnus) and from the Latin word for tongue (lingua). A person who performs cunnilingus may be referred to as a "cunnilinguist".

Technique

As in all human sexual behaviour, both the techniques used in cunnilingus and individual responses to them are varied.

The clitoris is the most sexually sensitive part of the body for almost all women but may be too sensitive to pleasantly stimulate directly at times, especially in early stages of arousal. It is often best to begin with a gentler, less focused stimulation of the labia and the whole genital area. The tip, blade, or underside of the tongue can be used, as can the nose, chin, lips and, with caution, the teeth. Movements can be slow or fast, regular or erratic, firm or soft, according to the recipient's preference. The tongue can be inserted into the vagina, either stiffened or moving. Humming to cause vibration while performing cunnilingus is often considered to be especially arousing with certain pitches, rhythms, or tunes thought to be particularly effective by different people.

Cunnilingus is easily accompanied by the insertion of finger(s) or a sex toy into the vagina, which allows for the simultaneous stimulation of the g-spot, and/or into the anus. Either of which many women find can produce very intense sensations. Some sex educators recommend that cunnilingus be the major element when someone makes love to a woman--not just foreplay--but this is a personal preference. Many other activities can accompany cunnilingus to enhance overall pleasure, limited only by preference, psychology, and anatomy.

Cultural, spiritual and religious significance

Taoism

Although not spoken of openly in Western society until recently, cunnilingus is accorded a revered place in Chinese Taoism. This is because the aim of Taoism is to achieve immortality, or at least longevity, and the loss of semen, vaginal, and other bodily liquids is believed to bring about a corresponding loss of vitality. Conversely, by either semen retention or ingesting the secretions from the vagina, a male or female can conserve and increase his/her ch'i, or original vital breath. In Taoism:

According to Philip Rawson (in Paz, p. 97), these half-poetic, half-medicinal metaphors explain the popularity of cunnilingus among the Chinese: "The practice was an excellent method of imbibing the precious feminine fluid" (Paz, p. 97). But the Taoist ideal is not just about the male being enriched by female secretions; the female also benefits from her communion with the male, a feature that has led the sinologist, Kristofer Schipper, to denounce the ancient handbooks on the "Art of the Bedroom" as embracing a "kind of glorified male vampirism" that is not truly Taoist at all. Ideally, by mingling the male and female liquids the Taoist aims to reconcile opposites and to recapture the mythical time that existed before the division of the sexes, the primordial time of the original ch'i.

Tantra

The religious historian Mircea Eliade speaks of a similar desire to transcend old age and death, and achieve a state of nirvana, in the Hindu practice of Tantric yoga. In Tantric yoga, the same emphasis is placed on the retention and absorption of vital liquids and Sanskrit texts describe how the male semen must not be emitted if the yogin is to avoid falling under law of time and death.

Song of Songs

Bible (King James)/Song of Solomon#7:2 (verse 7:2 in the King James Version) of the Biblical Song of Songs appears to contain a direct reference to cunnilingus, although most English translators avoid this reading by rendering the key term "navel." An alternate translation could read as follows: "Your vulva is a rounded crater, never lacking mixed wine". (Song of Songs 7:3 שררך אגן הסהר אל יחסר המזג)

The context, moving up from her sandals to her vulva to her belly to her breasts, however, makes the meaning of "vulva" (Heb. shor), as derived from an Aramaic word meaning "secret place", all but conclusive. In both Christian and Jewish tradition the erotic intimacy between the bride and groom described in the Song of Songs is given spiritual significance.

STD, HPV, and oral cancer risk

Chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis (multiple strains), and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — including HIV — can be transmitted through oral sex. Any kind of direct contact with body fluids of a person infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) poses a risk of infection. Nevertheless, the risk from most of these types of infection is generally considered far lower than that associated with vaginal or anal sex. If the receiving partner has wounds or open sores on her genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in their mouth, or bleeding gums, this poses an increased risk of STD transmission. Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work, or eating crunchy foods such as potato chips relatively soon before or after performing cunnilingus can also increase the risk of transmission, because all of these activities can cause small scratches in the lining of the mouth. These wounds, even when they are microscopic, increase the chances of contracting STDs that can be transmitted orally under these conditions. Such contact can also lead to more mundane infections from common bacteria and viruses found in, around, and secreted from the genital regions.

In 2005, a research study at the College of Malmö in Sweden suggested that performing unprotected oral sex on a person infected with HPV might increase the risk of oral cancer. The study found that 36% of the cancer patients had HPV compared to only 1 percent of the healthy control group.

Another recent study suggests a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of human papillomavirus or (HPV) because this virus has been implicated in the majority of cervical cancers. The study concludes that people who had one to five oral sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity and those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250% increased risk.

Prevention

Due to disease risks, many medical professionals advise the use of dental dams when performing or receiving cunnilingus with a partner whose STD status is unknown. A makeshift dental dam can be made out of a condom (instructions). Using a real dental dam is preferable, because real dental dams are larger, and the makeshift version may be accidentally poked with the scissors during the cutting procedure. Plastic wrap may also be used, but this is less preferable because the thickness dulls sensation. Certain kinds of plastic wrap are manufactured with tiny holes to allow venting during microwaving, which may allow transmission of pathogens.

In popular culture

There are numerous slang terms for cunnilingus, including "drinking from the furry cup and "muff-diving". In lesbian culture, several common slang terms used are "giving lip", "lip service", or "tipping the velvet" (an expression that novelist Sarah Waters claims to have "plucked from the relative obscurity of Victorian porn). Older erotic literature refers to it as "gamahuching", with some variation in the spelling.

A Saturday Night Live skit starring Christopher Walken made word plays between the word cunnilingus and the name of a civil war colonel named "Colonel Angus" (spoken in a heavy southern accent). Walken played the colonel and other characters said such phrases as "Colonel Angus can be very messy" and "I don't really care much for Colonel Angus". Before this, the Not the Nine O'Clock News cast performed a double entendre-driven pop ballad song, "(The Memory) Kinda lingers," to the same effect.

The phrase "cunning linguist" is also often used as a pun on cunnilingus, implying oral skill of a different sort, and is used by Moneypenny to James Bond: "You’re such a cunning linguist, James, is that how you get the girls?

A Hells Angel whose colors include red wings indicates that he or she has performed cunnilingus on a woman who was having her period at the time or black wings for performing cunnilingus on a black woman.

See also

References

External links

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